One evening as I returned to my home in Auckland, I remember thinking to myself that it is getting increasingly more difficult to get past the front door of people’s homes. People are resistant to the Christian message and messenger. They often resent being interrupted by someone with religion. And then with equal force came the thought, What about media?
What if we could get into every home with the Adventist message on every television or radio? And not just for one hour a week, but 24/7. What difference would that make to the Church’s ability to get its message out and how would it impact the city for Christ?
So was born a dream and began my journey in media ministry.
Today the Church shares good news to hundreds of thousands of people every day through its media programs. It does this in New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Australia, French Polynesia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga and Kiribati through radio, television and online channels. And it is making a difference. Every week I hear of a story of someone walking into one of our churches because they heard or saw a timely message from our media. Praise God! [pullquote]
Since becoming involved in media I have become convinced of the following four principles:
1. There are many types of media and all can be used to bring a person to Christ. Print, television, web/digital and radio. We are learning to use Facebook to create an interest and build a community. Mums At The Table has more than 2100 mums in a closed group, talking and interacting together.
In a recent report produced by the Australian Government, titled “Online & On Demand 2017: Trends in Australian online viewing habits”, the following conclusion is shared: “Despite disruption from SVOD (streamed video on demand), overall use of broadcast TV remains fairly stable, while other existing platforms such as broadcaster catch-up and other AVOD (eg YouTube) have seen an increase.”
The reality is that different media types appeal to different demographics and, while broadcast TV is still the dominant player in the media market, online based media is increasing quickly, especially with the under 50s, and we need to learn how to work effectively in this area.
2. Media, if used wisely and well, can have a significant influence on a person’s discipleship journey. Stories like Ken, who saw a Signs magazine half buried in the sand, picked it up and read himself into the kingdom. Or Adele who was searching for answers after the loss of a loved one and one day while channel surfing came across Hope Channel NZ. She said, “Whenever I had a question I would go to Hope Channel and found answers.” She also found Christ and began attending her local Seventh-day Adventist church.
3. Media crosses boundaries and cultures. Gates and doors can’t stop it entering. There are no limits to its reach other than transmission, reception and our willingness to be part of the process. This is why we are working on beaming radio into Wallis. It is a country that is 99 per cent Catholic and the village gate is not open to Adventists.
4. We all use media and therefore can use it to do something to share Jesus with someone.
The Scriptures say, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7-10, NIV).
Today, we can proclaim peace and bring good news in so many different ways and through so many different media types. But for this to happen your support is needed. One way you can to do this is to subscribe to Signs magazine and then share it with a friend. Another way is through the Media Evangelism offering on August 10.
Dr Brad Kemp is CEO of Adventist Media.